UTA acquires New York strategic advisory firm for $125 million
United Talent Agency is bulking up.
The Beverly Hills-based company, which represents Hollywood talent, influencers and athletes, said it is expanding its branding business by buying New York-based media and marketing advisory firm MediaLink.
The $125 million deal is UTA’s largest transaction since its founding in 1991.
“UTA is very focused on enhancing our relationship with brands, creating more opportunities for clients to work with brands (and) looking at opportunities for brands to become more integrated into the content landscape,” UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer said in an interview.
UTA is sponsoring a new acquisition company focused on gaming and digital media.
The acquisition comes as entertainment industry is consolidating and talent agencies — once focused on representing Hollywood stars — are venturing into other categories, such as sports and gaming.
Creative Artists Agency, based in Century City, in September said it was acquiring rival ICM Partners for an undisclosed price. Endeavor, the Beverly Hills-based owner of talent agency WME, launched an IPO in April after acquiring several entertainment- and sports-related properties in recent years.
UTA acquired influencer management firm Digital Brand Architects and invested in sports agency Klutch Sports Group in 2019.
The latest acquisition deepens the company’s presence in the branding business. The agency already represents brands including General Motors and Delta Air Lines.
“Historically, when we’ve made acquisitions, we’ve tried to buy market leaders in whatever category they were in,” Zimmer said.
MediaLink, founded in 2003, employs more than 150 people in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and London. It has relationships in entertainment, technology, brands, marketing and finance, including seven of the top 10 global media companies and businesses including Google and Goldman Sachs.
“Our two companies operate at the same intersection and share the same vision,” said MediaLink founder and CEO Michael Kassan in a statement. “It’s a perfect fit.”
Even as businesses reopen, many consumers are sticking to new entertainment habits they developed during the pandemic.
UTA Marketing co-heads David Anderson and Julian Jacobs will become part of MediaLink’s leadership team.
UTA said it does not anticipate any job cuts due to the acquisition and expects MediaLink to hire more people.
UTA has been diversifying its business over the years. Earlier this month, UTA, a former Nintendo executive and others sponsored a new acquisition company focused on gaming and other areas of digital media and entertainment. The special purpose acquisition company UTA Acquisition Corp. was expected to raise at least $200 million from the offering.
Entertainment companies face growing pressure to attract younger audiences, many who prefer to spend their time gaming rather than watching TV or movies at home.
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